This poor bastard has been jailed in Finland for two years and four months on nine counts of "gross defamation, inciting ethnic hatred and inciting religious hatred" -- in other words, "insensitivity towards Islam." [Hat tip Duncan Bayne] The poor bastard's name is Seppo Lehto, and while his work is variously described as "odious," "repellent," and "racist filth," that on its own should not be cause for imprisonment. Notes blogger Baron Bodissey,
As was pointed out by several commenters at the time, Mr. Lehto is not the most appealing poster child for freedom of expression.
Unfortunately, one can’t choose only the most noble and upstanding people as defendants in civil liberties cases. When it comes to the suppression of free speech, authorities are more likely to pick off the stragglers — the unpopular, unpleasant, and unattractive media personalities who inhabit the fringes of public discourse.
Seppo Lehto is one such character, and now he has just been convicted and sentenced for inciting ethnic hatred. He will spend more than two years in prison for posting his noxious opinions on his blog. In many ways, Finland is leading the way in the repression of free speech. Britain generates more cases, but the Finns have been prosecuting theirs more effectively and imposing harsher punishments."
"That Finland is now in the role of protecting Islam from criticism, is a step that no other state in Europe has taken until now," notes the Tundra Tabloid, "and that, more than anything else, is indeed dangerous as it is worrisome."
It's ominously clear that when 'hate speech' laws are on the books, then free speech protection goes to the dogs. As Hugh Laurie's former partner-in-comedy Stephen Fry reminds us,
'It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that", as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I'm offended by that." Well, so fucking what?'
NB: Instead of linking to Lehto's odious and repellent racist filth, I'll link readers instead to Prodos's masterful analysis of the issues raised by Lehto's colleague-in-purdah Mikko Ellilä in his article, 'Society Consists of People.' The link to Prodos's analysis, his own reasons for ejecting Ellila from his Prodos-hosted blog, (and why ejecting him is not a violation of free speech) can be found here: My comprehensive assessment of Mikko Ellila article, Society Consists of People.